How Long Does Tylenol With Codeine Stay In Your System?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses how long Tylenol With Codeine stays in your system.

Feb 22, 2018

Mimi asked

How low does Tylenol With Codeine Stay in your system?


Tylenol (acetaminophen) with Codeine is a opioid analgesic (pain reliever) used in the treatment of mild to moderate pain.  How long Tylenol (acetaminophen) with Codeine stays in your system depends upon the half-life of both the Tylenol (acetaminophen) and codeine.  

The half-life is the amount of time it takes for the amount of drug in the body to be reduced by one-half.  It is a general rule that it takes 4 to 5 cycles before a drug is considered to be no longer having any therapeutic effects in the body. Tylenol (acetaminophen) has a half-life of 2 to 3 hours in adults.  That means after 12 to 15 hours, the drug would be considered to have no more therapeutic effects. Tylenol has an onset of action (time it takes to start working) of less than 1 hour.  The duration of action is 4 to 6 hours.  

Tylenol (acetaminophen) has been associated with acute liver failure.  Doses should not exceed 4 grams daily in adults. Be careful when combining with other medications that contain acetaminophen so as to not exceed the 4 grams maximum daily dose. 

Codeine is an opioid analgesic used in the treatment of pain and also as an antitussive to help control a cough.  It has a half-life of approximately 3 hours.  This means it would take approximately 12 to 15 hours, like Tylenol, for the drug to be considered to have no more therapeutic effects.  Codeine has an onset of action of 0.5-1 hour.  The duration of action is also 4 to 6 hours like Tylenol (acetaminophen). Since Codeine is an opioid analgesic, prolonged use can lead to the risks of opioid addiction, abuse and misuse.  

Caution should also be used if taken with other opioids or central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as alcohol.  Taking these medications together can lead to an increased risk of sedation, drowsiness, respiratory depression (problems breathing) or even death.

Since Tylenol (acetaminophen) with Codeine has a half-life of 2-3 hours for both drugs, it typically would take 12 to 15 hours for the drug to be eliminated from the body and considered to be having no more therapeutic effects

Ready for a more personal experience with your meds?